self-care / part 4: accepting love




self-care series
((part four of eight))

hi, dearest one.

here we are together in this little space of the internet. it’s nice to feel like i’m not alone right now, that you’re reading this with me and we’re in this thing together. although i’m currently sitting in a crowded airport terminal, i can get so lost in my head that i feel lonely, isolated by the tornado of thoughts around me. writing here helps me. 

so we’re half-way through this series on self-care. each week i try to focus on the elements that i am writing about (typically as a note-to-self), and each week i feel more aware of how poorly i take care of myself. 

the common phrase and biblical principle ‘love others as you love yourself’ seems simple and straight-forward enough. but what we don’t often think about is that maybe we don’t really love ourselves. if we’re consumed with self-loathing, looking in the mirror and berating the reflection, how well can we really love another person?

this realization caught me off guard. as most people are, i am my worst critic. i dissect my reflection into sections and thoroughly examine all of the pieces of me that i don’t like. too many freckles, a tiny chip in my tooth, an unpleasant voice. and the list goes on. 

i make these lists every day. lists of things i wish i could change about myself, many of them that i never will be able to. many of them that no one else would wish to change about me. many of them that others find endearing and lovely. my brain distorts it and tells me that it’s unloveable. 

i was incredibly fortunate to grow up in a loving and supportive environment. my parents allowed me to express myself and told me daily how much they love me. but for years those words passed through me as though i were a ghost. these words were just words, i wouldn’t allow them to be a seed that would take root in me and grow into something wonderful.

this is a daily battle that i may very well fight the rest of my life. a battle against society’s standards of beauty, a battle against loud insecurities that ring in my ears without ceasing. 

but there are ways to make headway in this battle. to win the fight, even if just for a moment. it begins with loving yourself. 

when you look in the mirror and pick apart the reflection, comparing it to the invisible person next to you that you feel is better, take notice. catch your thoughts in the act of trying to make you feel small. catch them in your hands and transform them. 

make the choice to see the things you love about yourself. maybe only one comes to mind right now. my advice is to write it down. each positive thing about yourself that comes to you, keep it with you and use it as a weapon in the fight. hold tight to these things.

these are the thoughts that water the soil and prepare you to accept seeds of love that others plant in you. then when you hear words of encouragement, kindness, help, you’ll feel them fully and accept them as truth.

because you deserve this. whatever you do, don’t forget that. you deserve to feel the peace of unconditional love. 

it starts with you.

go in boldness, dear friend.

xo,
Ashley


Listening to:



4 comments:

  1. This is very relevant to my life right now and I am going to challenge myself to write down something everyday for a week that I like about myself! Thank you for sharing your journey with us, it's nice to know that we are not alone.

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  2. I love this series, and it's reminding me to keep taking care of myself and to focus on what I like about myself rather than what I dislike. It can be hard sometimes so a remiinder like this always helps.

    Also, I shared your beautiful 'My Hand' poem with a friend last night who was feeling down and she loved it <3 thank you so much for all that you do. I appreciate it all so much x

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  3. Hello Dear Ashley,
    I would like to say thank you. Thank you for being vulnerable, and sharing your experiences with us all. I have struggled with mental health for about 7 years now, but it wasn't until recently that I realized that I was... I was so convinced that my problems were minuscule and unimportant that my symptoms spiraled out of control. At the lowest point in my life, I decided to reach out for professional help since I wasn't getting support from those around me, (mostly because I had reach out before and been left hanging). I have been seeing a therapist for several months now and it is wonderful.

    I would like to let you know that finding your blog, poetry, and beautiful heart helped me make the decision to seek help. When I was feeling completely alone, I ordered your poetry book and I didn't feel quite so alone. So again, thank you.

    I am still learning how to bring up the subject of mental health with those around me, but I am trying to be vulnerable, like you. You are laying a path for others to follow and I am incredibly grateful.

    I hope you are well today :)

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  4. this is something that's constantly in my mind, lately I've realized I don't even know how respond to compliments, my mouth just throw up something to make the compliment lose value, it's like those words didn't even went through my mind and I regret it immediately.

    I'm loving this serie, it's super relatable and helpful.

    ps: I've heard your voice a few times and it actually surprised me because I found your voice incredibly calming and peaceful.

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